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MINNETONKA, Minn. (AP) -- Musicland Group Inc. will close its 61 Media Play stores, including five in Utah, by late January, a company spokeswoman said.
Media Play, which opened in 1992, has 2,000 employees in 18 states, and management staff will receive an unspecified severance package.
The company's stores in Utah at Midvale, Salt Lake City-Redwood Road, Brickyard Plaza, Riverdale and Orem have about 150 full and part-time employees.
Media Play's concept of selling music and other entertainment media in a big-box format had foundered for many years. Minnetonka-based Musicland has struggled itself as the media retailing sector has been hurt by online sellers as well as discount stores like Wal-Mart.
Liquidating Media Play is unfortunate but necessary, Musicland spokeswoman Laurie Bauer said on Friday
"We have not been able to find a niche in the marketplace," she said. "Music, movies, video games, and books all have a lot of competition, and the chain has been struggling for a number of years."
Musicland is investing in a major redesign of its Sam Goody chain of mall-based media stores to improve its financial fortunes. Its other remaining chain is Suncoast Motion Picture Company stores.
Sun Capital Partners Inc., a private investment firm based in Florida, took Musicland off the hands of Best Buy Inc. in 2003 -- two years after Best Buy paid nearly $700 million for the group. Sun Capital Partners paid no cash but assumed all of Musicland's liabilities.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.).